TV review by
Marty Brown, Common Sense Media
Nightflyers TV Poster Image
Tense, scary sci-fi thriller reminiscent of genre classics.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

It's generally pretty nihilistic, but there are some positive messages about sacrificing one's self for the greater good.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's hard to know who to trust, who is good, who is bad, etc. There are some moments of self-sacrifice, and there's potential for a positive role model to emerge, but characters' moralities are mostly questionable.


There's a lot of implied violence, but not a lot of violence is actually shown. The show mostly thrives on the anticipation of violence, rather than the depiction of it. There is a grisly suicide, images of dismembered limbs, and a man caught on fire.


There's innuendo and characters making out, but no nudity or simulated sex.


Profanity includes "f--king," "damn," "s--t," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Nightflyers is a science fiction thriller where a group of people are trapped in an isolated place and hunted by an unseen and powerful alien force. It's based on a novella by George R.R. Martin, author of the Game of Thrones books. The show thrives on the anticipation and dread of violence, but actual depictions of violence come in quick, brief flashes. The sci-fi elements are generally straightforward and easily understood -- there are spaceships, robotics, telepaths, and aliens. Because of the nature of the storyline, all of the characters are suspicious of one another and, though there's room for a hero to emerge, no one comes off as a good person.

User Reviews

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Parent of a 13, 13, 14, and 15-year-old Written byDio fry January 31, 2019

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What's the story?

In NIGHTFLYERS, the Earth is dying, and astrophysicist Karl O'Branin (Eoin Mackin) believes that meeting alien life forms will give him the keys to humanity's survival. He leaves his wife and daughter behind in order to travel through space with Captain Roy Eris (David Ajala) and his crew aboard the Nightflyer. O'Branin also brings along an aggressive, telepathic kid named Thale (Sam Strike) and his psychiatrist, Dr. Agatha Matheson (Gretchen Mol), believing them essential to communicating with extraterrestrial life. During launch, things begin to go wrong for the crew of the Nightflyer, putting everyone's lives in danger, and sewing mistrust among them. As strange events continue to happen, they wonder if Thale is responsible, or if it could be someone (or something) else.

Is it any good?

A group of people being chased by an unknowable assailant -- it's one of those rare premises that's always satisfying, and often terrifying. George R. R. Martin's take on that premise recalls two masterpieces of that particular subgenre, Ridley Scott's Alien and John Carpenter's The Thing, and references other sci-fi classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey along the way. It's possible that Nightflyers is placing itself among such landmarks in order to set up expectations for a typical sci-fi thriller and then upending them, the way that Martin's Game of Thrones uses fantasy cliches and archetypes and then completely undermines them. But even if it doesn't end up reaching the subversive highs of that other Martin-based TV show, this is still a creatively satisfying (and occasionally terrifying) adaptation.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the future. Is Nightflyers a plausible depiction of how the future might look? What are the differences between this world and our current one?

  • Why do you think many TV shows are set in enclosed environments (boats, spaceships, etc.)? What possibilities do these settings create?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sci-fi

Themes & Topics

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